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Robert Borland, back in the air and getting on with life on Phuket

Phuket Crash Survivor Back in the Air Often

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
ROBERT Borland, a survivor of the Phuket plane crash that killed 90 passengers and crew three years ago, said today that he was not surprised at the disappearance of the One-Two-Go budget airline brand.

The parent company, Orient Thai, is now replacing the marque that was on Flight 269, which crash-landed at Phuket airport on Sunday, September 16, 2007.

Mr Borland, an Australian who has lived on Phuket for 12 years, was one of the 40 survivors from the crash. ''I've probably flown more times since then than I did before,'' he said today.

''I actually even flew again with One-Two-Go at Thai New Year, when I heard they had a flight going direct to Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok.''

Now fully over any fear of flying, he said: ''It was the most nervous flight of my life, but it was ok.''

A local Thai who will always be a hero to Mr Borland and others who remember the crash went back into the smoking wreck and helped Mr Borland out onto a wing.

With burns to 30 percent of his body, Mr Borland chose to stay on Phuket for treatment at Bangkok Hospital Phuket and underwent a long recovery.

''Physically, I'm fine. The crash does come into my thoughts every so often, but that's as you would expect,'' Mr Borland said. ''These days, I don't make too much of what happened.''

He told us in an earlier interview: ''One of those National Geographic programs that you tend to watch when you are in hospital said one flight in every five million becomes a crash statistic.''

The full findings of the subsequent investigation were not released but a summary largely blamed the pilots for bringing the plane in to land during an intense Phuket storm. Pilot training was also criticised.

So was the reaction time of Phuket airport's emergency team, which is now subject to regular drills.

One-Two-Go flights were suspended by the Department of Civil Aviation and resumed after changes and additional training in December 2008.

Orient Thai flies daily from Bangkok to Hong Kong. The airline specialises in charter flights and within Thailand flies from Don Mueang Airport to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Trang.
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